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Ten Years Of Mrs T.


  • BEAN, C.
  • SYMONS, J.


We argue that the 1970s were characterized by attempts to maintain a cooperative, low unemployment equilibrium in the face of considerable union power, through use of incomes policies and neo-corporatist machinery. The 1980s saw a shift away from this, towards direct measures to limit union power. This, together with the adoption of tight macroeconomic policies, explains the initial rise in unemployment. The reduction in union power also helps to explain the acceleration in productivity growth. The craft nature of much of the British union movement has led to a multiplication of bargaining units wihin firms. Bargaining in isolation a union can perceive overmanning and other restrictive practices as being in its intrests, resulting in low wages and productivity. A fall in union power results in a reduction in these inefficiencies and leads not only to a rise in productivity but also in wages.
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Suggested Citation

  • Bean, C. & Symons, J., 1990. "Ten Years Of Mrs T.," Papers 370, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:lseple:370

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    Other versions of this item:

    • Charles Bean & James Symons, 1989. "Ten Years of Mrs. T," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 13-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nelson, Edward & Nikolov, Kalin, 2003. "UK inflation in the 1970s and 1980s: the role of output gap mismeasurement," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 353-370.
    2. Kevin Denny, 1997. "Productivity and trade unions in British manufacturing industry 1973-85," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(10), pages 1403-1409.
    3. Nelson, Edward, 2017. "Reaffirming the Influence of Milton Friedman on U.K. Economic Policy," Working Papers 2017-01, University of Sydney, School of Economics, revised Feb 2017.
    4. repec:pal:compes:v:59:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_s41294-017-0023-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Manfred Keil & Louis Pantuosco, 1998. "Canadian and US Unemployment Rates: A Comparison Based on Regional Data," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(s1), pages 38-55, February.
    6. Ian Small, 1997. "The cyclicality of Mark-ups and Profit Margins: Some Evidence for Manufacturing and Services," Bank of England working papers 72, Bank of England.
    7. Manfred Keil & Andrew Newell, 1993. "Internal migration and unemployment in Germany: An anglo-irish perspective," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 129(3), pages 514-536, September.
    8. Nelson, Edward, 2001. "What Does the UK's Monetary Policy and Inflation Experience Tell Us About the Transmission Mechanism?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3047, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Nicholas Crafts & Mary O'Mahony, 2001. "A perspective on UK productivity performance," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 22(3), pages 271-306, September.
    10. Mills, Terence C. & Pelloni, Gianluigi & Zervoyianni, Athina, 1996. "Cyclical unemployment and sectoral shifts: Further tests of the Lilien hypothesis for the UK," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 55-60, July.
    11. Gianluigi Pelloni & Wolfgang Polasek, 2003. "Macroeconomic Effects of Sectoral Shocks in Germany, The U.K. and, The U.S. A VAR-GARCH-M Approach," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 21(1), pages 65-85, February.
    12. Lynde, Catherine & Richmond, J., 1998. "Productivity and efficiency in the UK: a time series application of DEA," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 105-122, January.
    13. Paul Beaudry & Mustafa Caglayan & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2001. "Monetary Instability, the Predictability of Prices, and the Allocation of Investment: An Empirical Investigation Using U.K. Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 648-662, June.
    14. Nauro F Campos & Fabrizio Coricelli, 2017. "EU Membership, Mrs Thatcher’s Reforms and Britain’s Economic Decline," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 59(2), pages 169-193, June.
    15. Erik Britton & Jens D J Larsen & Ian Small, 2000. "Imperfect competition and the dynamics of mark-ups," Bank of England working papers 110, Bank of England.


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